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Payback Time for Sarko in France's Dirty Politics?

Former French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s dramatic criminal interrogation last week shows once again that the politics of the French Republic remain waist-deep in sewage. It was also an affront and humiliation of a former – and would be future – French president.

Sarkozy was picked up from his Paris home before eight AM and whisked off to a police and judicial center in the outskirts of the capitol. He was subjected to 15 hours of intensive questioning, then taken at two AM to be arraigned (‘mis en examen’) for possible corruption and perversion of justice.

“Grotesque” claimed Sarkozy the next day, insisting he was being humiliated and persecuted by leftwing political enemies in the judiciary. He may have been right. Such Stasi-like treatment of a former president was unprecedented and unnecessary. It was revealed that Sarkozy’s cell phone had been tapped by magistrates for over a year. What was going on?

The former president is accused of improperly using his influence by offering favors to two senior magistrates to find out details in an explosive 2007 case of illegal campaign financing. The late Col. Muammar Khadaffi claimed before his murder by French-linked insurgents that he had secretly given Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign $68 million. Khadaffi knew too much…and was talking.

As the pirates used to say, dead men tell no tales.

This case, now under intense investigation, could blow up and wreck what had until now appeared Sarkozy’s likely re-election in 2017. He remains the most leading candidate of the center-right while the current French Socialist president, Francois Hollande, is so miserably unpopular he couldn’t get elected as a dog catcher. Hollande’s popularity rating is 16% and falling. Amazingly, the disgraced Socialist leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn (aka DSK) is now better regarded by the French public than the wretched Hollande.

As I watched Sarkozy being carted off by the police, I wondered, could this be payback by the left for the honey-trap that ended the career of former Socialist luminary Strauss-Kahn?

The former International Monetary Fund director and Socialist bigwig, the notoriously oversexed Strauss-Kahn, was charged with attempting to rape an African maid in a French-owned New York hotel.

The case smelled of a frame up concocted by Strauss-Kahn’s enemies on the right, probably with help from an intelligence service. Strauss-Kahn was arrested, humiliated, and jailed. After a lurid trial, he finally beat the rap, but not before his political reputation was ruined and his quest for France’s presidency derailed. But for this tawdry case, Strauss-Kahn would likely have been elected president of France in 2012, sparing the republic the unloved Hollande. Many French darkly suspected Sarkozy was behind the plot against Strauss-Kahn.

Sarko has been up to his ears in scandal for a decade. He was recently acquitted of “abuse of the elderly” after being charged with taking envelopes of cash from France’s richest woman, the senile l’Oréal heiress, Lillian Betancourt. He faces other illegal fund-raising charges.

Another nasty case hounds Sarkozy involving kickbacks on a major submarine contract to Pakistan in which a number of French technicians were killed – allegedly after bribes to Pakistani politicians went unpaid. At the time, Sarkozy was chief campaign fund raiser for then presidential candidate Edouard Balladur.

While Sarkozy is still popular on the right, there is little personal sympathy for him. In the waspish words of Britain’s Francophobe Daily Mail, Sarko is a “French peacock married to a super model (Carla Bruni) who lives like a king.” Indeed, the Sarkozys have castles, magnificent country estates and yachting trips. Their jet-setting and love of gaudy excess has given Sarko the sobriquet, “president Bling.” The short, hyperactive, half Jewish, 5’5” Sarko is hardly the traditionally elegant, regal French president French admire. Napoleon was even taller than Sarko. But he has more energy than all his opponents combined.

France’s problem with political sleaze stems in good part because its overly restrictive campaign laws cause presidential candidates to solicit “black” funds, then conceal them.

In the past, the French government oil company Total was a favorite piggy bank for politicians. So, too, the dictators of former French West Africa. At French election time, they were expected to deliver bags of cash to the French candidates in exchange for future favors or carte blanche from human rights problems.

All of this financial and political sleaze was shrugged off by most French –at least until now. The establishment French media kept most of the scandals under wraps. In Britain, they would have been front-page screamer headlines.

The brusque way Sarko was handled was wrong. But the crimes of which he and his cronies are accused are extremely grave, defiling the honor of France and its republican governments. They must be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted. Not a day too soon as the Fifth Republic crumbles.


(Reprinted from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: France, Nicholas Sarkozy
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6 Comments to "Payback Time for Sarko in France's Dirty Politics?"

  1. eah says:

    half Jewish, 5’5” Sarko

    Since you refer to Sarkozy this way, perhaps it’s only fair to describe DSK as ‘full Jewish’ — according to his Wikipedia page, he was once described as “the 6th most influential Jewish person in the world”.

    …regal French president French admire.

    Perhaps ‘regal President the French admire’ works better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When Blair and Bush are going to be arrested? How about the whole Neocon family?

  3. Don Nash says:Website

    Nico the Sark does the perp-walk. Refreshing and hopefully, a sign of things to come. We can only hope that Bush, Cheney, Bliar, Straw, Howard, Rice, Rummy, and all the really nasty war criminals wandering our Planet, are paying close attention. Their day will come…

  4. I’m pretty sure that only Sarkozy’s maternal grandfather was born Jewish in Greece and he converted to Christianity to get married. So, Sarko is not really half-Jewish by birth or religion or culturally Jewish at all.

    Wikipedia:
    Sarkozy is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa, a Hungarian aristocrat, and Andrée Jeanne “Dadu” Mallah (b. Paris, 12 October 1925), whose Greek Jewish father converted to Catholicism to marry Sarkozy’s French Catholic maternal grandmother. They were married in the Saint-François-de-Sales church, 17th arrondissement of Paris, on 8 February 1950 and divorced in 1959.

  5. michael says:Website

    l’oreal heiress- the founder of l’oreal was a supporter of the vichey during occupation, france should nominate RIFAAT AL ASSAD as a prezzie candidate- oh that’s right their holding out until the AL QAEDA moderates defeat BASHIR. france has a tragic event in it’s future-MUSLIM REPRODUCTIVE ADVANTAGE- just like the right bank of the Mediterranean

  6. Albert says:

    On DSK, the New York incident was arranged by his good friends in the Socialist Party. Mr. Hollande may govern like a limp noodle but for arranging “incidents” for his enemies he is second to none. A long time apparatchik schemer who has been unable to transit to governing.

    The Right was waiting for DSK with the Carleton Affair. Imagine Dédé La Saumure telling all he knew about the depraved tastes of the Socialist candidate for the office of “Mr. le Président”. Guaranteed re-election for Sarko.

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